Today the 49ers made a move that surprised just about everyone last night when it was reported — and that included national guys, local beat writers, fans, and probably most team employees. They named John Lynch as the team’s General Manager.

Hey, they hired a G.M. first after all!

In truth, it seems borderline cemented that Kyle Shanahan will be the team’s next head coach, and it’s been that way for over a week. And, since Lynch attended Stanford, generally came across as intelligent and rather candid when he analyzed games for Fox, and has ties to the Shanahans (he played for the Broncos under Mike Shanahan from 2004-07), we might as well give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Yes, even though the 49ers interviewed several more qualified candidates.
  • Yes, even though two qualified candidates (Nick Caserio and Chris Ballard) declined to interview with the 49ers.
  • Yes, even though three qualified candidates (Eliot Wolf, Trent Kirchner and Brian Gutekunst) removed themselves from consideration after interviewing.
  • Yes, even though the last high-profile ex-player to move from the announcing booth to the G.M. desk with no front office experience was Matt Millen.
  • Yes, even though he was given a six-year contract, unheard of for a G.M. (never mind a first-time G.M. who has never served as a scout or in any other executive capacity).
  • Yes, even though the man once drank enough rum in one day that his blood sugar level was at Slurpee levels.

Jay Glazer went on the Bill Simmons Podcast about 10 months ago and described an almost-altercation with Peyton Manning (nothing really, just two drunk guys yelling at each other for a little while with their wives nearby), and told perhaps the best story about Lynch that’s available for public consumption:

Simmons: So you’re at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. (Peyton) Manning says something you don’t like.

Glazer: Hold on, let’s back it up. We were trying to break John Lynch’s Mai Tai record at the pool.

Simmons: Oh, so there were drinks.

Glazer: 34 Mai Tais.

Simmons: Shut up.

Glazer: Legendary. John Lynch, the whitest dude on the planet, wears Brooks Brothers …

Simmons: That’s not true. That can’t be true.

Glazer: We can call him right now.

Simmons: 34 Mai Tais?!?!

Glazer: There were 17 doubles, OK? 17 doubles, 34 Mai Tais. John Lynch, we call him “47 red” because you have John Lynch, who’s the whitest dude on the planet and wears Brooks Brothers and has like 19 white kids. And then there’s 47 red, where you get a couple drinks in him or you put him on the field and he’s knocking you the fuck out. You’re going to fear for your personal safety.

And he’s the best, too. Because when you get drinks in him, all the sudden he gets very patriotic. From, like, the ’70s. And he will get up, no matter where you are. You could be at a black tie event, he will start singing “God Bless America.” And if you don’t sing along — and he’s going to kill me for saying this — if you don’t sing along with him, he will start calling you out and start calling you, like, a “commie.” Commie? What is this, friggin’ “All In The Family”? Who uses those words, you shittin’ me? “God Bless Americaaaa.” And if you don’t do it, man, he’ll start wearing you out.

Simmons: 34 Mai Tais?!?!

Glazer: He’s a very impressive human being. He’s a very accomplished person.

That brings us to the secret interview, which took place a few days ago as reported by Cam Inman.

Lynch flew up Thursday from his San Diego home to meet with York, who’s spearheaded the 49ers’ GM and coach search. Lynch stayed Thursday night at York’s Los Altos estate, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who also reported that Lynch approached Shanahan last week about assuming the GM role.

On Friday, Lynch flew with York and 49ers chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe to Atlanta for a follow-up interview with Shanahan, who also sat in on Saturday’s sessions with the 49ers’ two presumed GM finalists,  the Minnesota Vikings’ George Paton and the Arizona Caridnals’ Terry McDonough.

Man, what I would’ve given to be a fly on Jed’s cabana wall on Thursday night. One would guess the Yorks had plenty of high-end spirits and tropical juices on hand with an accomplished person like Lynch around.

In all seriousness, just like I did with Chip Kelly a year ago (whoops), I’m willing to give the Lynch/Shanahan pairing a fair chance.

For starters, Kyle Shanahan was my first choice all along to coach the team. It seems like he’ll have some personnel power — if not final say — but it’s impossible to know if that’s a good or bad idea just yet.

And let’s compare Lynch to his predecessor, Trent Baalke.

  • Baalke: Mentored by Bill Parcells
  • Lynch: Played for Bill Walsh at Stanford
  • Baalke: Joked about lack of transparency, seemed to hate the media
  • Lynch: Excellent communicator, comes from the media (in a sense)
  • Baalke: Total sourpuss
  • Lynch: Closet party animal

Sounds like an upgrade to me.

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